The real blogosphere

Sorry, political pundits. While you all congratulate yourselves on your swarms of five people dominating discussion in your comments, Zach Braff’s irregularly updated blog draws thousands and thousands of comments. As far as I can tell, it’s not just the same five people engaging in flame wars, either.

Things heard on XM

Aside from the occasional high school rendition of Tom Sawyer, I’d never heard anyone do a cover version of a Rush tune. So imagine my amazement when I flipped to XM Music Lab yesterday and heard the long instrumental La Villa Strangiato credited to “Sheehan, Morse, Al…” I immediately recognized the first two names — bassist Billy Sheehan and guitarist Steve Morse, both legends of guitar-geek magazines even though Sheehan did a stint with Mr. Big. (Yes, as in To Be With You, a tune that should make music critics appreciate the fact that Maroon 5 and company are actually making far better teen ballads these days.)

It was … pretty good. Morse showed good taste with his solos, keeping a good sense of melody and only occasionally rattling off some speed-demon runs. Sheehan perfectly mimicked the outrageous Geddy Lee bass fills and added some flourishes of his own.

My complaint is that it’s a little too heavy. The original Strangiato is laid-back and actually a little elegant at times, taking listeners on a musical journey through a series of vistas with varying dynamics. Here, Sheehan’s bass is at the forefront of the mix much of the time. With the mix so heavy in the lighter sections, all they can do with the heavier sections is crank everything up into a big mush.

Still, they had fun with it. And if you play your instrument that well, it’s nice to have fun with your talent at some point.

My Seinfeld moment

I went into a meeting the other day and grabbed my legal pad to take notes. As usual, I had a few things scribbled from wherever I’d last taken it. My handwriting goes beyond chicken scratch when I’m in a hurry, but this page was more or less legible.

But incomprehensible. Here’s what I wrote:

Red flood return to 39

Yes, that’s right. Red … flood … return to 39.

No, you’re not missing some newsroom lingo here. I have absolutely no idea what that means.

Red flood … return to 39 …

I spent about half of the next meeting staring at it. I don’t remember when I wrote it down, what state I was in or whether I was channeling James Joyce. And unlike Seinfeld’s “flaming globes of Sigmund,” I don’t think I can blame it on whatever was on TV at the time.